I am quite sure you had to call more than once to a phone customer service line to sort out some issue. I feel even surer that the simple idea of doing it made you feel angry beforehand. As a person who worked for more than a year as a CSR (Customer Service Representative) over the phone, I am going to tell you my experience briefly.
At the beginning, when I started my practical training taking real calls from customers, it wasn´t a good experience. As the only mean you have to ‘face’ the customer is your voice, it didn´t really help me the fact of being a foreigner. The sentence ‘I want to talk to someone who knows the language’ become too usual during my first days. But I knew I just needed some practise and I could do it, I will understand the issues and be able to get a solution myself. And I did it, even when those comments about my accent never fully disappeared, I was confident about my abilities. Even with that, I have to recognise I felt slightly unsure sometimes about asking something again.
The next thing that you have to learn to deal with is people. When a customer calls, no matter if it is a big
issue or a small one, they will be THE ONE. From the point of view of a customer, I understand that they feel stressed for the situation and that they want to deal fast with their problem. But unfortunately, even if you emphatize with the person on the other side of the line and understand them, you need to follow a protocol and things that can seem so easy for the customer really aren´t. That creates an invisible wall between you and the customer, and you start to leave your feelings apart, as you can´t take as yours every single call of the seventy you may get on average on a working day.
At the end, this is a quite simple job when you get what you have to do and how to manage the calls. The questions you receive and answers you give every single day are mostly the same all the time. Basically, what happens at any other job, it is easy when you master it. Take a call, talk to the customer, (hopefully) be able to solve the problem, leave a note on the system about the call issue. Next call. You reach one point when hearing and repeating always the same like a parrot and having to deal with difficult angry shouting customers undermines your strenght and patience. That´s why I left the job, after a year on a full-time job like that, I was mentally exhausted. But I loved the experience, I learnt how to keep calm when talking to frustrated people, deal with stress, become stonger in adverse situations and improve my self-confidence. And of course, you also talk to really nice people that makes your day better. At the end, you prefer thinking about the good side of the job, that is helping people.
So, if you have to call to customer services, please try to be kind. I know it can be difficult not to get angry, but most of the times we are not the ones to blame, just keep in mind there´s another person willing to help on the other side.
Picture taken from Flickr.com by RaHuL Rodriguez